Community ID
Alternate Names
Ecclesia Nenthorpe (circa 1200); prepositus de Nienthorpe (1203); ecclesia de Nindorp (1221); Endorpe (1296); Nendorpe (1304); Neyndorpe (1359); Nendorppe (1480)
Minden (today Hildesheim)
Medieval Location
In the dukedom of Saxony, county of Hoya, later dukedom of Braunschweig-Lüneburg; in the district of Stolzenau.
Modern Location
Corporate Status
S. Mary; S. Martin (1202)
Date Founded
1200 (circa)
Date Terminated
1542 (circa); certainly by 1576
Religious Order
Foundation Information

Towards the end of the twelfth century the parish priest of Nendorf, Symon or Simon, was able to increase the church income in order to support a group of pious women. Bishop Thetmar of Minden (1185-1206) supported Symon and confirmed the new foundation in 1200, establishing Symon as the provost of the community (Asch, 421). Symon convinced the counts of Wölpe to act as the protectors of the community. Little is known about the internal spirituality of this community. It is unclear what order or rule they followed initially. A reference to their adherence to the Benedictine order first appears in documents of Bishop Volquin of Minden in the years 1285, 1287, and 1289 (Asch, 421).

Notable Heads

Known prioresses of the community were: Gisela, 1211; Adelheid, 1257, 1259; Gisla, 1283, 1291; Elisabeth, 1359; Ilse Wegewyndes, 1486; Anna von Haßbergen, 1542.

Population Counts

At the time of its consecration there may have been only seven nuns. Circa 1542 there were seven nuns and a prioress. In 1576 when the convent was destroyed, three nuns still lived in Nendorf, which may indicate that the inhabitants of the convent were relatively young (Asch, 425).


In 1294 Count Otto of Wölpe granted the convent rights in a farm. Several bishops of Minden granted the community land and income. In fact, by 1243 more than half of the convents possessions, 28 individual possessions, came from the holdings of the bishops of Minden (Asch, 426). Documents from the thirteenth century reveal numerous gifts from the high and low nobility, among them the counts of Oldenburg in 1224 and 1255, Duke Otto of Braunschweig in 1251, Count Heinrich of Hoya in 1280, Count Johann of Roden in 1283, and Count Otto of Wölpe in 1294. The archbishops of Bremen also acted as patrons of the community.

Secular Political Affiliations

The counts of Wölpe acted as protectors while the counts of Roden served as advocates of the community. In the thirteenth century, the counts of Hoya acquired rights within the territories of the bishop of Minden and the counts of Wölpe and Roden. The counts of Hoya then became the protectors and advocates of this community, as they were for Bassum. In a document of 1221 Count Bernhard of Wölpe declared he was the protector and defender of the community but not its advocate (Asch, 422). Likewise, a document of 1224 refers to Count Hildebold of Roden as the advocate of the convent. By 1241 the counts of Hoya had assumed both roles for the convent. However, Bishop Wilhelm of Minden was able to win the advocacy of the community back (Asch, 423).

Social Characteristics

The nuns were drawn from the lower nobility from the areas of Hasbergen, Have, Horn Frese, and Elmendorf. Another portion of the nuns came from the urban patriciate, names which also appear in Bremen, such as Post and Gevekote, appear in Nendorf as well.

Relative Wealth

The convent experienced financial difficulties during the episcopacy of Bishop Johann of Minden. The financial situation of the nuns was so difficult that a certain amount of income had to be set aside for the purchase of their clothes. The nuns also complained in the thirteenth century to the bishop that the cold and the unrepaired cracks in the choir forced them against their will to curtail their devotion to the liturgy (Asch, 424). Bishop Wedekind attempted to ease the financial difficulties of the community. The bishop again reiterated that the income from Vorbomen should be used for the purchase of clothing and that no provost should use it for any other purpose. Gifts in the following years perhaps eased the financial difficulties of the convent. Few economic documents from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries are extant, leading Asch to surmise that these centuries provided a period of stability, perhaps economic consolidation or even stagnation (Asch, 425). However, in 1466 Bishop Albert of Minden confirmed that the nuns could leave the cloister on convent business.


In 1252 Bishop Johann of Minden granted the convent possession of a house in "Vorbomen," but the possession appears to have only caused the community difficulties(Asch, 423). In 1243 the bishop declared that several possessions acquired by provost Lambert and a hide of land from "Vorbomen" should serve for the purchase of clothing for the nuns. This decree appears to reveal the poverty of the nuns that specific income had to be set aside for their clothing (Asch, 423). In 1277 Count Heinrich of Hoya gave the convent two fields for the purchase of clothing for the nuns. Documents from the thirteenth century reveal numerous gifts from the high and low nobility, among them the counts of Oldenburg in 1224 and 1255, Duke Otto of Braunschweig in 1251, Count Heinrich of Hoya in 1280, Count Johann of Roden in 1283, and Count Otto of Wölpe in 1294. In 1287 Bishop Volquin exchanged a mill and property in the village of Repholthus (where the parish of Nendorf was located) in return for one and a half hides of land to be used for the nuns' clothing (Asch, 424). A list of holdings of the convent recorded over 50 individual complexes (Asch, 426). More than half, 28 individual possessions, came from the holdings of the bishops of Minden. In 1203, Bishop Heinrich granted the convent the tithes from Neubrüchen, and this gift was confirmed in 1241 by Bishop Konrad (Asch, 426). In 1200 at the time of its foundation, the convent received the church of Holzhausen near Stolzenau for its support.


Initial income for the community came from the neighboring parish of Holzhausen and from purchases of land in Nendorf and Warmsen. The possessions of the convent were supplemented by spiritual bequests from the local nobility and those who provided money for the care of family memebers within the convent (Asch, 422). The successors of Bishop Thetmar granted the convent farms and income as well. The dispute between the bishops of Minden and the counts of Hoya hurt the economy of the convent. The convent's incomes came primarily from tithes, hides, farms, houses, and rents in the villages of the county of Hoya. It held a larger complex in Nendorf itself.

Art & Artifacts

The convent's seal was round with a depiction of Mary with child, sitting on a throne, with a lilly in her right hand. To the right of Mary was S. Martin, standing with his mitre and croizer. The inscription reads: "Sigillum sancte Marie virginis et sancti Martini in Nendorp" (Asch, 428).

Architecture & Archaeology

The convent church was presumably built in the fifteenth century. It consisted of a single nave with flying buttresses. A document of 1259 refers to a nuns' choir.

State Of Medieval Structure

The cloister and convent buildings are no longer extant. Only portions of the outer walls of the convent church, built presumably in the fifteenth century, remain. A few of the flying buttresses still exist. The church was completely rebuilt in the eighteenth century.

Manuscript Sources

Hauptstaatsarchiv in Hannover, Celle Or. 13; Celle Or. 100 Nendorf; Hann. 83 II 3917; Hann. 74 Stolzenau Nr. 816. Staatsarchiv in Wolfenbüttel VII C Hs. 2,175-189.

Published Primary Sources

HOYER, Urkundenbuch; Westfälisches Urkundenbuch, vol. 6: Die Urkunden des Bistums Minden 1201-1300, ed. H. HOOGEWEG, Münster, 1898 and vol. 10: 1301-1325, ed. R. KRUMBHOLTZ, Münster, 1977.
LÖFFLER, K., ed. Mindener Geschichtsquellen, 1. Die Bischofschroniken des Mittelalters, Münster, 1917.

Miscellaneous Information

In 1526 Count Erich of Hoya attempted to reform the convent. After much resistance the convent accepted Lutheranism in the 1540s. A lutheran priest named Cord Oite was engaged to preach to the provost, prioress and the seven nuns remaining in Nendorf. The convent had reformed and perhaps dissolved by 1542. By 1576 it was under the administration of the counts of Hoya (Hoogeweg, 95). In 1576 when the convent was destroyed, three nuns still lived in Nendorf (Asch, 425). In 1582 it was transferred into the holdings of the Welf house.

June Mecham
Contributors Notes

The provost of the community provided spiritual as well as temporal direction for the nuns here. Aided by chaplains, he was also responsible for the parish of Nendorf and the church in Holzhausen (Asch, 422). The provosts of the community appear to have been drawn from the secular clergy rather than Benedictine monks (Asch, 426).

Date Started
Date Finished